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Addressing Culture, Oppression, and Sociopolitical Climate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

May 19, 2018 @ 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Western Massachusetts and Albany Association for Psychoanalytic Psychology

Usha Tummala-Narra, Ph.D.

Addressing Culture, Oppression, and Sociopolitical Climates in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Saturday May 19, 2018

9:00 am — Registration/Coffee
9:30 am — 12 pm — Presentation



This presentation highlights psychoanalytic understandings of the sociocultural context in psychotherapy. Dr. Tummala-Narra describes a framework for a systematic inclusion of cultural competence as a core emphasis of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. A historical overview of psychoanalytic neglect of cultural context will be followed by examples of specific contemporary oppressions relevant in patients’ cultural identifications.

Dr. Tummala-Narra will focus particularly on the issue of negotiating cultural identity in the current social and political context of the United States. She will address how cultural identity formation is a complex and layered process that involves intrapsychic, interpersonal, and sociocultural understandings of both individuals and communities. Cultural identity will be explored as a fluid and dynamic process in which the individual experiences choice and constraint throughout the lifespan.

This presentation will provide a lens through which the therapist and patient can identify the dilemmas of facing choice and constraint in issues of identity and relationship. She will address cultural identity formation within both the confines of social oppression and trauma, and the open spaces for exploration inside and outside the therapeutic relationship. A case illustration will serve to translate culturally informed psychoanalytic theory into practice applications.


About the Presenter

Usha Tummala-Narra, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology at Boston College, and in Independent practice in Cambridge, MA. Her research and scholarship concern immigration, race, gender, mental health, and cultural competence in psychotherapy practice. She has served on the American Psychological Association Division 39 Board of Directors, the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration, and the APA Task Force on Re-envisioning the Multicultural Guidelines in the 21st Century. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Theory and Cultural Competence in Psychotherapy, published by American Psychological Association Books in 2016.



Akhtar, S. (2011). Immigration and acculturation: Mourning, adaptation, and the next generation. New York: Jason Aronson.

Ruth, R. (2012). Contemporary psychodynamic perspectives on multiple minority identities. In R. Nettles & R. Balter (Eds.), Multiple minority identities: Applications for practice, research, and training (pp. 163-184), New York: Springer.

Suchet, M. (2007), Unraveling Whiteness. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 17(6), 867-886.

Tummala-Narra, P. (2016). Psychoanalytic theory and cultural competence in psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Wachtel, P.L. (2009). Knowing oneself from the inside out, knowing oneself from the outside in: The ‘inner” and “outer” worlds and their link through action. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 26(2), 158-170.


Learning Objectives
After attending this intermediate-level program, participants will be able:

1. To describe ways in which the sociocultural context of the client and the therapist influence conceptualizations of health and pathology in development.

2. To recognize how psychoanalytic theory informs and deepens an understanding of sociocultural context in psychotherapy.

3. To identify how experiences of privilege and oppression contribute to complex and sometimes contradictory cultural identifications, and challenging dynamics within the therapeutic relationship.

Sponsorship and Continuing Education                    

2.5 CE credits are available to psychologists and psychoanalysts, and 2.5 CE credits will be provided for LMHCs. Social workers seeking continuing education credits should contact Cindy Racine ( or 413-446-9529) for status of the application for continuing education credits.
Division 39 is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Division 39 maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Division 39 is committed to accessibility and nondiscrimination in its continuing education activities. Division 39 is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during the discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns or any complaints to Moi Wurgaft, Ph.D., LMHC at 413-230-7027.

WMAAPP is the local chapter of Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association. WMAAPP is committed to following APA ethical guidelines

WMAAPP brochure Tummala-Narra 5-19-2018

Pre-registration has ended.




May 19, 2018
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Event Category:


The Red Lion Inn
30 Main Street
Stockbridge, MA 01262 United States
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